Jan 03, 2011
Our future Speaker of the House John Boehner isn't
cry in public.
He readily admits to being an emotional man.
But what does he cry about?
During his victory speech on Election Night, Boehner teared up as he
spoke about being a working class stiff who has been chasing the
American Dream all his life. Now that he's gotten hold of the brass
ring, however, he has allied himself
with a bunch of revolutionaries who seek to destroy that Dream by
getting rid of the very "safety nets" and services that helped him succeed.
"I'm a regular guy with a big job" said Boehner off-handedly to
Lesley Stahl in a "60
Minutes" interview. She found the man likable because he was so
"authentic." She predicts the public will like him, too, probably
because he represents the epitome of the twentieth century log cabin
"I put myself through school, working every rotten job there was,"
The small-town Ohioan grew up as the second oldest in a working
class family with 12 kids. He went to Mass every morning at an all-boys
Catholic school and lived in a small house with one bathroom and both
parents-who happened to be John Kennedy Democrats.
Boehner worked in their father's bar in Reading outside Cincinnati
where he mopped floors, helped with breakfast, cleaned up the dishes
and washed the windows.
He worked nights to pay for tuition at Xavier University in
Cincinnati, a private Catholic institution, and became the first person
in his family to attend college, which took him seven years to
complete. He met Deborah, his future wife of 37 years, when he was a
janitor on the night shift.
After college he got a sales job in the packaging and plastics
industry and worked his way up to become president of the firm. He
resigned in 1990 when he was elected to Congress.
These are all admirable qualities by working class standards but
unlike most, the self-made man became a millionaire. He also said this
was the time he converted to Reagan Republicanism because he was so
shocked that taxes ate up so much of his income.
What's missing in this picture is his recognition that tax monies
have always been critical to business success.
How? They provide the legal framework to enforce business contracts,
roads and airports to transport goods and people, regulated utility
rates that provide reasonably-priced utilities to industrial concerns
and public schools and universities that provide a trained workforce.
And yet, John Boehner thinks his success is due entirely to his own
efforts and that he owes his fellow citizens nothing.
Now that he's in power, he wants to attack the public services and
programs that make it possible for working class people to succeed just
as he did. And in doing so, he is undercutting the most important
resource that any business needs: well-educated, skilled and healthy
people. He wants to do it by underfunding or defunding the monies used
to subsidize state college tuition, public health, affordable housing,
public education, public transportation and roads.
It shouldn't escape our attention--or our pride--that these things
possible by those liberal New Deal Democrats, courtesy of the Franklin
D. Roosevelt administration and his successors. Neither should we
ignore the fact that the wealthy class also chastised FDR and called him
a "traitor to his class" for doing this.
Over the past 100 years as the richest Americans have profited most
from the United States' rise to world prominence and power, they have
consistently complained about paying taxes.
Unfortunately, working class people have been suckered into these
concerns to their own detriment. They see the high cost of living, the
global economy and job downsizing affecting them but they believe what
Republicans tell them: high taxes are the culprit.
I don't doubt that Boehner's tears are sincere but he's completely misguided in his analysis.
For example, he says he can't bring himself to visit a school
anymore because it's "too emotional" for him. He's not sure the kids
will "have a shot at the American Dream."
However, over the past 30 years the GOP has been doing everything it can
to get rid of public schools, including the imposition of high stakes
testing that ties the schools' funding and teachers' jobs to students'
Boehner's biggest cry is government spending.
"Your government is out of control," he yelled in his campaign for
re-election. "Do you have to accept it? Do you have to take it? Hell,
no, you don't."
Lesley Stahl characterized Boehner's campaign as a "strategy of
defiance" against Obama and the Democrats. What this really turned out
to be was obstruction against working class Americans who are unemployed, underemployed and uninsured for health care.
Boehner, who co-authored the Contract with America in 1994, has now
allied himself with the Tea Party, that ruse of a group that appeals to
working class Americans' fears and insecurities in this disastrous
Truth be told: Boehner, who dons the Republican mantle, is a traitor to his class, the
working class, and he should be ashamed of himself.
He allies with the Republican Party that has consistently shown itself to be the party
of the rich by reducing taxes on the wealthiest Americans. Recently, they forced passage of an extension of the Bush
tax cuts that helps millionaires save more while it make the lower-income wage earners pay more!
The Republicans have also been chipping away at government services
in the name of tightening the belt of Big Government. However, after
eight years of Bush and now two years of Obama, the deficit has reached
$900 billion anyway.
"Washington has spending problem," said Boehner.
This is the typical businessman's complaint and quite frankly it's a
little old. Spending is what you do with tax money in order to provide
essential services like education, social security and health care
especially to those who can't afford them. This makes for a more equal
society, one of the tenets of our democracy.
But let's face it. Our system is made for the rich by the rich. They
take care of themselves and don't care about anyone else, least of all
the working class. They hire expensive lawyers who get them around tax
codes and they support and co-opt millionaire congressmen like Boehner
to push for legislation that benefits their pocketbooks.
The working class-and those of us who came from it-must start our
own revolution and resist these Republicans, Tea Partiers, and the
sell-out Democrats who protect the rich.
If we don't, it will take more than crying to fix what ails America.
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